To code or WYSIWYG?
Category: Blog

Ok so Thanksgiving is over and back to reality. I had to slow down on working on my ebook due to having to work on some small gigs I scored (YAY!)  Today I wanted to briefly explore some of the tools that exist to help non programmer types like myself. Both Moglue and uTales  offer the user the ability to construct their project online using pre-coded behaviors that can be attached to graphic objects. Sound, interactivity, and things like age turning behaviors can all be added in this way. Both companies run off of a model that would have users (parent and kids) paying a modest subscription fee each month to have access to an online interactive ebook library.

This mode of production was and still is very attractive to me, (primarily because its so inexpensive) but the one concern is how to get this out to the masses if people arent already signed up on one of these two services. The other concern I have is due to the way you use these services to do a build, its not possible (so far as I can tell) to keep a build locally on your iPad that you can take around and show to people.

Kwiksher is one that I only found out about yesterday. Using this plug in that works with Adobe Photoshop, users can take their layered psd files and add basic interactivity, animations (tweened or using Sprite Sheets) and also music and sound.  This also requires that you own a copy of the Corona API as the code that is generated in the background is Lua. So, cost effective and you can do development locally.

The app that at this time that STILL looks best to me is Demibooks Composer. The app itself, which is free and is meant for the iPad, allows users to add graphics, size and move them using standard iPad touch commands and there is also a rich library of pre built codes that you can apply to graphic objects on the stage.  Any new book a user creates is set up in a templatized fashion, kept locally on the iPad and when complete can be published through Demibooks using a tiered pricing  system, where users pick the best package for them.

Recently, I downloaded a 30 day pre release trial of Adobe Edge which touts the ability to let users create interactive sites and apps for the Mobile platform using a WYSIWIYG type interface. This program is based on using HTML 5 to generate animations and generates the scripts in the background, much like Dreamweaver. it also utilizes JSON as well, but I havent learned enough about it to comment on that right now. At present, Edge does not support high levels of interactivity and is supposed to be officially released in 2012..more on that as I continue to experiment with it.

At present I am still creating art on the iPad for the book, and still planning on using Composer…but it wonderful to constantly be seeing all these new options popping up all over the place. Im excited for whats next!


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